Tesla creating 100-station EV fast-charging network in U.S.
LOS ANGELES -- Tesla Motors is creating a network of 100 solar-powered fast-charging stations for its electric vehicles nationwide by the end of 2015.
The fast-chargers will be able to deliver three hours of highway driving range with a 30-minute charge. The service is available for free to Tesla owners.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the total cost of the stations will be between $20 and $30 million for the entire network.
Each station will have between four and six charging ports and be located at key highway rest stops near established restaurants, Musk said.
Tesla secretly developed four stations in Southern California, and unveiled them operationally late Monday night. Two more will go online in early October, with the web expanding to Las Vegas, northern California and Oregon by next summer, Musk said.
Within two years, most of the U.S. will be covered, with the following time being used to backfill areas, so that eventually stations are no more than 200 miles apart.
Musk said similar sized networks will be placed in Europe and Asia starting next summer.
For owners of other brand electric vehicles -- and even the original Tesla Roadster -- the superchargers will only work with Tesla Model S and future Tesla models. That is because the 100-kilowatt charging current is too powerful for lesser battery packs, Musk said.
The stations will get their power from solar panels mounted overhead, courtesy of Musk's sister company, Solar City.
The panels will generate more power than charging cars can draw, so on a net basis, the stations will add to the electrical power grid even if cars are charging at night or in cloudy weather.
"We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight," Musk said.
A network of fast-charge devices on U.S. highways is a way to overcome the problem of limited range, one of the challenges automakers cite for battery-powered cars. Tesla wants to become profitable as early as next year from sales of its $57,400 Model S and by supplying battery packs and motors to investors Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp.
The company's goal is to deliver at least 20,000 Model S sedans next year and achieve a gross profit margin of more than 25 percent, Musk told Bloomberg Television on Sept. 21.
Tesla said it aims to install superchargers in busy traffic corridors across the U.S., "enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York."
Separately, Tesla Motors today cut its revenue outlook for the third quarter because of supplier shortcomings and other delays in accelerating production of the Model S.
The company said in a regulatory filing that it expects to generate $44 million to $46 million in third-quarter sales, compared with the $83.1 million average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Musk last week in an interview declined to confirm that the company will deliver 5,000 of its Model S sedans this year. Tesla now expects to deliver 200 to 225 Model S cars in the third quarter and 2,500 to 3,000 in the fourth. Tesla forecast that gross margin will turn positive in the fourth quarter as production accelerates.
"As our main focus is on quality, we have methodically increased our Model S production at a rate slower than we had earlier anticipated," the company said in the filing. "Certain suppliers have experienced delays in meeting our demand and we continue to focus on supplier capabilities and constraints."
The company added that it's making an all-new car "with new employees using new equipment." Tesla now forecasts full-year revenue of $400 million to $440 million, down from $560 million to $600 million.
For Tesla's statement on the recharging stations, click here.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.
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